First three
Alexei Morozov struck his first hat-trick of the season today. One could say it is the first time he has scored three in one game in the KHL, although he has previously scored four, against Sibir, and even five, with Barys on the receiving end.

The Ak Bars attacker needed a little over 43 minutes to score three times, so nowhere near the fastest result of the campaign. That distinction currently belongs to Alexander Korolyuk, whose treble strike took only 9 minutes 19 seconds.

Before scoring his treble, Alexei also supplied the pass for the first goal, and so he matched his personal best points haul for the current championship: in late December, Morozov collected 2+2 in the encounter with Traktor.

Fighting spirit
It is the fourth time this season that Barys overhauled a 0-2 deficit and fought back to win. Three other teams have also achieved four such comebacks, but the outright leaders are the players of Salavat Yulaev, with five under their belts so far.

Just as the Barys players are getting used to turning games around, it should surprise no-one that today’s opponent was Traktor. It was the third time in 12 occasions that the Chelyabinsk men threw away a two-goal advantage, and in percentage terms this puts them in the bottom four of the current championship. Avtomobilist has the worst record of all, losing 3 of the 7 games in which they have scored the first two goals.

Change of leader
Lokomotiv overtook Metallurg Magnitogorsk and climbed to the top of the KHL standings for the first time in the current championship.

Until now, the Yaroslavl men’s highest position in the overall table was third place, which they had occupied after their 12th, 13th, 19th, 20th and 30th games. The Railwaymen’s lowest position in the championship was 23rd, after the opening game of the campaign. The next game saw Lokomotiv leap to 15th, and their climb continued, with them only once slipping out of the top ten all season.

The Yaroslavl team is the sixth to head the overall standings. Dynamo Moscow has topped the list the most often, but the Muscovites’ present bad run has knocked them back down to sixth place.

Figure of the day
19 seconds was all Barys and Traktor needed to score against each other today, one of the twenty fastest exchange of goals this season. In first place are Ak Bars and SKA, whose goals came just 11 seconds apart.

Key players
Edgar Masalskis (Yugra). Kept his goal intact against the championship’s top scorers.

Alexei Yemelin (Ak Bars). Made two assists and earned a rating of +2.

Evgeny Busygin (Metallurg Novokuznetsk). Scored the goal which took the game to overtime, and finished at a +2.

Danis Zaripov (Ak Bars). Scored one goal himself and set up two for his comrades in a performance that merited a +3.

Alexander Golovin (Metallurg Novokuznetsk). Featured in all his team’s goals, scoring the first and assisting in the next two, before being the only player to score in the shootout.

Alexei Morozov (Ak Bars). Scored a hat-trick and added an assist.

Quotes of the day
“I’ll take the blame for the penalty for having too many players on the ice. I suppose I didn’t explain clearly enough who I wanted to send on,” – Avangard head coach Raimo Summanen.

“We did warn the guys that recently Amur has been scoring freely and playing high-speed hockey, but it didn’t sink in until after the first period, when we’d already allowed three goals,” Neftekhimik head coach Vladimir Krikunov.

“The biggest negative from the game wasn’t even the score, it was the fact that against such a classy side we had several players go out onto the ice who weren’t prepared to graft and battle,” Sibir head coach Andrei Tarasenko.

Alexei Shevchenko, special to

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